They say that time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana. I’m no expert in fruit flies, but it sure does seem like time has been moving swiftly lately. I can’t believe it’s time to go abroad already. I feel like I just arrived on campus, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, when this notion of a year abroad seemed very vague and far away. Now I’ll be spending a semester in Lima, Peru at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, studying economics, followed by a semester in Bogota, Colombia at Universidad de los Andes, pursuing finance. I’m excited to start my next adventure, but I probably should have prepared a bit more.
I wish I had a better sense of the cultural context of the cities that I will call home for the next 9 months. I’m realizing now that my decision to take a class on the history and culture of Spain rather than Latin America was a bit misguided. It was an excellent class, but right now it would be more useful to know about the evolution of art in Lima than Madrid. I will be taking a Peruvian Social reality class as a requirement of my abroad program, which will hopefully fill some gaps in my historical record.
I also wish my Spanish was better. It’s really frustrating to have studied Spanish for five years and still be unable to hold a coherent conversation about what I did over the summer. I can speak pretty intelligently about the different artistic styles of the past 500 years, but that subject does not often pop up in the course of everyday interaction. I really should have practiced more over the summer too. There’s nothing I can really do about it now, so I am going to hit the ground running when I arrive in Lima, where all of my classes will be conducted in Spanish. It’s an immersion program, so hopefully my Spanish will be greatly improved by the time I go to Colombia.
That being said, I am very excited to have a grand new adventure. I purposefully chose Peru and Colombia to push me out of my comfort zone and leave the Westernized mindset. I really want to travel and see more of South America. We are visiting Machu Picchu in September, which I am looking forward to. I also want to connect with the people. One of my favorite moments from the past few weeks was when my host mom sent me an email asking what I liked to eat for breakfast. It was very sweet. The food in Peru is also supposed to be phenomenal. It is the birthplace of the potato, after all. I have a lot to look forward to.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m very excited about going abroad. I know I’m going to learn and grow a lot, and meet a lot of amazing people. Right now, I am feeling a little jittery. I feel like I’m going skydiving, and I’m scared to jump. It will be an unforgettable experience while I’m there, but I need someone to push me out of the plane. Here’s to the start of another chapter!